TP53 is a major gene involved in the determination of proliferation or growth arrest at the cellular level. The polymorphism of p53 at codon 72 has been widely studied; this variation has been associated with cancer susceptibility and disease outcome. The specific aim of this study was to investigate whether the p53 codon 72 polymorphism is associated with individual susceptibility to colorectal cancer in Korean patients. The frequency of the polymorphism was examined in 156 patients with colorectal cancer and in 293 healthy controls. The polymorphism analysis was performed by amplifying exon 4 of p53 and digesting the products with restriction enzyme. The frequencies of genotypes: Arg/Arg, Arg/Pro and Pro/Pro were 34.6% (54/156), 43.0% (67/156) and 22.4% (35/156), respectively, in the cases with colorectal cancer, and 28.9% (114/293), 47.8% (140/293) and 13.3% (39/293), respectively, in the healthy controls. Statistically, there was a significant difference in the frequency of the genotypes when the healthy controls were compared to the patients with colorectal cancer (<em>p</em>=0.0459). The specific allele frequencies showed borderline significance (<em>p</em>=0.0502). Our findings suggest that the p53 Pro72 variant is associated with an increased risk for colorectal cancer in the Korean population.
Keywords: p53, colorectal cancer, polymorphism, susceptibility, metastasis.